UT System expands horizons through successful technology commercialization investments

The University of Texas System Horizon Fund —a technology commercialization initiative— has made 12 investments in the past two years, representing  eight UT institutions and five industries, with investment rounds ranging from seed money to late-stage growth equity.

During the UT System Board of Regents meeting in Austin, May 14, 2014, Jeet Vijay, interim executive director of the UT System Office of Technology Commercialization delivered a high-level overview of the Horizon Fund’s past two years, focusing on its diversification and syndication efforts and showcasing Apollo Endosurgery as a commercialization success story.

Apollo Endosurgery is focused on revolutionizing patient care through the development of endoscopic surgery, which is emerging from the convergence of laparoscopic surgery and therapeutic  gastroenterology.

The company was cofounded with a unique collaboration of physicians from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins University, the Medical University of South Carolina, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. UTMB provided early seed capital and helped create the company with CEO and founder Dennis L. McWilliams, an alum of UT Austin.

“This is what  the UT System Horizon Fund strives for—a company that’s created through collaboration, seed funded by a UT institution, and created by a UT alum,” said Vijay. “Mr. McWilliams is an alum who is so committed that he has been engaged with the university for multiple years and is a member of the Texas Exes Board. He has successful experience with a previous pharma company and has now reached new heights with Apollo Endosurgery, recently executing a $100 million transaction to acquire the obesity division of Allergan Health, which includes the world's leading obesity treatment device, the LAP-BAND®.”

The company will generate in excess of $100 million in global revenue this year, has products in over 102 countries and supports over 180 direct jobs, exemplifying the importance of seed funding in early-stage life sciences and the role of the UT Horizon Fund.

Read more about the UT Horizon Fund and Apollo Endosurgery. Watch a video about Apollo Endosurgery.